The dictionary definition of ‘Dire Straits’ is “under extreme distress”, so don’t let your business find itself in this difficult position. One way that you can minimise this risk is to follow the advice of Mark Knopfler’s Rock Group, Dire Straits, from their 1985 Album, “Brothers in Arms”.

“What the heck was that!?” I can hear you all shouting into your laptop, tablet or mobile. “Hall of Finance has gone bonkers!”

“Money for nothing” is what I said (for those business owners, partners and directors in their 20’s, ‘Money for Nothing’ was a hit single)!

“He has gone flaming stark-raving bonkers,“ would be your most likely reply. “Nobody gives businesses money for nothing”.

But they do! They are called Grants!

Grants are money for nothing! If someone says you invest £100 and I will give you another £50 on top, then that, in the Hall of Finance business book, is money for nothing. Your business has been given an additional £50 – another half/50% on top of what you have put in yourself.

 So, who is giving out grants post-Brexit?

Well, for one, South-East Midlands Local Economic Partnership, otherwise known as SEMLEP.

They have secured a £1.25M pot of funding for businesses in the South-East Midlands seeking to expand, invest and recruit. This fund is split across two types of Grant, both part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund – ERDF.

Who are the ERDF? Well, I am not wasting words in this blog to tell you, but look them up on Wikipedia. They have been around since 1973, before the UK joined the EEC, and became more active from 1975 under UK lead, when we did vote to join. However, Brexit has not stopped them supporting local businesses.

How local?

Well, this funding is exclusively for small-to-medium-sized businesses based in the South-East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) area – geographically covering Aylesbury, Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Cherwell, Luton, Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire.

What are the two types of Grant?

1. Velocity Growth revenue grant

£1k-£10k funding up to a maximum of 33% of the total price of the goods or services, supporting;

  • Specialist consultancy
  • Projects
  • Goods and services related to increasing sales, improving productivity and profitability and improving business processes.

Similarly structured grant schemes have previously been awarded to support;

  • Website design
  • Market research
  • Marketing collateral
  • Rebranding
  • Recruitment for hard-to-fill posts
  • Customer relationship management software 

The above are subject to a project ceiling of £5k per each new job created. Well, the grant is focussed towards growth and for that a business needs human resource somewhere in the development/delivery chain… doesn’t it!

2. Maximum Velocity capital grant

£5k-£50k funding up to a maximum of 25% of the total price, again, with a project ceiling of £5k for each new job created. Past successful project ideas have included investment in technology or processes that facilitate growth and create jobs, such as plant equipment, new machinery, and an extension to land or premises. 

“Can it get any better?” I hear you shouting… Yes, it’s double-bubble time, as you can apply for both Grants and obtain a combined investment of £60k.

Don’t take my word for it… have a look at the SEMLEP website –  and find out more on the exact eligibility criteria and the timescales involved.

Okay… so you won’t be able to draw down the funds in 7 days and you will have to put “some skin into the game” yourself by way of a monetary contribution. However, that is the real business world, which is not sugar-coated like a Disney movie! Sometimes, some of us can forget that.

So, what are you going to do about it then? Nothing? In which case, the business next door to you says, ”Thanks very much, mate!” as it increases their own chances of being successful. It isn’t an unlimited fund and £1.25m won’t last forever and, of course, your marketing strategy, website, branding, video clips and literature are all top of their class, aren’t they?

If they aren’t, then the man from Hall of Finance will say, with his practical, logical, business-consultant, mentoring hat on… “You would have to be nuts to turn down the opportunity of money for nothing, so don’t delay and contact the Velocity Growth Hub on 0300 01234 35 or by email at [email protected].”


  • You have to be in it to win it!
  • Hall of Finance can help you with the Grant Application paperwork if you wish… just give me, Graham Hall, a ring on 07889 780170 or drop me an email at [email protected].

So that is all there is to “money for nothing”… But, sorry, neither Hall of Finance, the EDRF nor SEMLEP can help you “get your chicks for free!”